Tag Archives: celebrity masterchef

A Night At The Wild Garlic Part 3: The Apartment

After a wonderful meal at The Wild Garlic, it was time to retire to fabulous apartment on the second floor above the restaurant. The apartment design was inspired by Angie Lewin and is decorated in 50′s/60′s style to compliment her artwork in the apartment. The apartment is a not an hotel room or holiday cottage, its a retreat. The fantastic staff of The Wild Garlic will leave you alone as much as you like. You have your own key and can come and go as you please. I loved it as you are right in the heart of the village and you get a real idea of what is going on, in the restaurant and the village. One small negative is that it is on the main road so you can get a bit of road noise at night. This did not bother me however, if you are looking for a country hideout away from noise, this may not be the ideal place.

 

When you arrive you find, bread, milk, butter, apple juice, tea and coffee things and even a bottle of wine in the kitchen. Inspired by the local produce in the apartment and in the local fruit and vegetable shop (see post here for more information) , I made myself mushrooms on toast for breakfast before I left and here is my recipe for it:

Mushrooms on Toast

Ingredients (Serves 1 hungry person!)

  • 1 slice of thick local bread, toasted
  • 1 field mushroom and 1 chestnut mushroom, peeled and chopped with stalk removed
  • 1 banana shallot, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 large knob of local butter, for frying
  • 1 small bunch or parsley, finely chopped
  • Rocket leaves, to serve with it, if desired

Method

  1. Melt some butter in frying pan, add in the shallots and fry until softened slightly
  2. Then add in the mushrooms and fry until cooked through. Add in the parsley at the last minute and serve on top of hot toasted bread.
  3. Put some rocket leaves on the side if you like and enjoy!

I would to thank Mat and all team at The Wild Garlic for a an amazing stay. I will be back again soon. :-)

Happy Cooking! :-)

PS:  Midlands Food Bloggers Members and Supporters can now get a Gourmet Life card for three months FREE! If you would like more information, please see the post here

PPS: Sorry for the delay between posts. If you would like to know why there was a delay, please see post on Jo’s Nursery here

A Night at The Wild Garlic Part 1: Local Food Sourcing

Last week, I went on a gastronomic tour of Dorset. Dorset is place I have wanted to visit for a while, as it has always looked so lovely on the River Cottage TV Series and after I heard, 2009 Masterchef winner Mat Follas was opening his restaurant in Beaminster, called The Wild Garlic I knew I definitely had to go!

This is the first of three posts about my experiences at The Wild Garlic. I had such a good time and I want to tell you all about it. If I did one post, it would be very long so I have broken it up into three bite – sized chunks for you. After this, there will be a post about my meal at the restaurant and my stay in the apartment above the restaurant. Finally, my series on Dorset will conclude on a visit to the River Cottage Canteen in Axminster.

I arrived at The Wild Garlic during a busy holiday weekday lunch service. I was greeted warmly by Mat and all his staff and shown to the apartment upstairs. More on this in another post. I put my stuff in the room and wandered back downstairs. Mat invites to go on a walk to get some supplies for the restaurant. This turns out to be a very short walk as we get the supplies from both the butchers and the fruit and vegetable shop across the square.

Our first stop was Nick Tett Family Butchers. From here, Mat purchased lamb loins, skirt steak, goats cheese and a few other bits and pieces. Everything in the butchers had local, free range or organic attached to it or in some cases all three. This is the kind of butchers shop that I would like to have over the road from me.

Our second and final stop was Fruit and Two Veg, a little bit further down the road pass the butchers. In the shop was a vast collection of local fruit and vegetables including asparagus, strawberries, spinach, rocket and mushrooms. I was in heaven. Mat and his sous chef brought lots of things for the restaurant from here, so many that I lost track but I know I ate a few of them in my meal that evening.I would love to have this shop around the corner from me.

Before, I even had my meal at the restaurant I was very impressed. As sometimes, restaurants say things are local but how local is local? In Mat’s case, local means over the road, which is the best kind of local. Don’t you agree?

I will be back soon with another post telling you about my fantastic meal at The Wild Garlic.

Happy Cooking! :-)

Review Of The Year 2010

2010 was my first full year of blogging so its seems right that I should look back and reflect on what an amazing year it has been.

In January, I did my first Fresh From The Oven Challenge, making Chocolate Buns. This formed part of my New Year’s resolution’s to be more adventurous in baking and make more bread. I also made cottage pie and did my first ever guest post on Nora’s blog.

In February, I made Valentine’s Cupcakes (that looked like boobies!) for English Mum’s Best Valentine Cupcake competition.  I reviewed my first cookbook, Skye Gyngell’s My Favourite Ingredients and Nora did a guest post on the blog.

Image by Wendy from Peters Yard

In March, I celebrated completing my first year of blogging. The first meeting of the Midlands Food Bloggers was held at Loaf’s HQ in Birmingham, where we cooked pizza’s and tasted Peters Yard’s Crispbreads and Brock Hall Farm’s Goats Cheese for the first time. I went to my first Cupcake workshop at Kiss Me Cupcakes and I hosted my first Fresh From The Oven challenge, Kringel

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In April, I entered and won the Easter Cake Bake and made cupcakes for the Mad Hatter’s Shropshire Tweet Up. Helen did a guest post on the blog and I made croissants for the first and last time!

May started by making the ultimate spring time brunch and a crumble. Pizza Napoletana was the Fresh From The Oven challenge.

In June, Jo’s Kitchen was invited by Miele to do the Masterchef Invention Test at the BBC Summer Good Food Show. Marie and I took on a Giant Cupcake Challenge and I went on an archaeological dig and left my blog in the care of Gary, Linda, Louise and Charlene.

In July, I made my favourite childhood dinner of Fish Fingers, Mashed Potatoes, Peas and Parsley Sauce. I entered my second English Mum’s Big Bake Off and held a competition to win a Masterchef Apron.

In August, I made a sweet version of Fish Fingers, Mash and Ketchup with Mat Follas’s help and went on a foodie trip to Ludlow visiting the Ludlow Food Centre and Ludlow itself. Brioche was this month’s Fresh From The Oven Challenge.

September was a busy month so I only made some cupcakes and garlic and basil focaccia.

In October, I made some spooky Halloween cakes for English Mum’s Autumn Bake Off, went to my first 24 Carrots Farmers Market and attended the second Midlands Food Bloggers Meet Up.

In November, I made Coca-Cola Marinated Steak, with Wedges and Cool Beans, and I went to Jamie’s Italian in Covent Garden, London. I also reviewed the Findus Fresher Taste range of ready meals.

In December, I was invited back to the BBC Good Food Show Winter by Miele. I took part in two cookalongs and met lots of fantastic producers. I went to the new Jamie’s Italian in the Bullring, Birmingham. I learnt how to make pasta for the first time at Loaf and shared my Christmas wishlist with you. Finally, for a late seasonal treat, I shared my Mincemeat Flapjacks recipe.

Overall, 2010 was an amazing year. I met so many fantastic people, ate lovely meals, made lots of new recipes and I was lucky enough to review some great products. I cannot wait to see what 2011 will bring. Thank you to all my readers for being along with me for the ride. I hope you will stay with me for 2011. I hope you all have a great night tonight, whatever you are doing. I will see you early in 2011 with my New Year’s resolutions.

Happy New Year! :-)

BBC Winter Good Food Show 2010 Part 2

After a cracking day out with fellow bloggers doing the Miele Masterchef Experience, I could not wait to get back to show on the Sunday and meet some amazing producers and I was not disappointed.

My first visit of the day was to Goodman’s Geese who produce free range geese and turkeys on their farm in Great Witley, Worcester. It is run by Judy Goodman, pictured above and their turkeys and geese have featured on many chef’s Christmas TV specials including Delia Smith, Rick Stein and Jamie Oliver. My turkey is coming from Goodman’s this year and I cannot wait to try it!

After this, I went to Gower Cottage Brownies which is run by Kate and she had won a Good Food Show Bursary Award, allowing her to come to show and let everyone know about her delicious brownies.  I already knew about Kate as she is on Twitter @gowercottage and I looking forward to trying her brownies. They are amazing. I will be ordering a box of brownies to be delivered to me soon.

Another producer who I knew from Twitter was at the show too. Sarah of Bray’s Cottage Pork Pies (@Brays_Cottage on Twitter) makes the best pork pies I have ever tasted. I am not a fan of pork pies generally but these are different. They have no jelly in them, meaning that free range pork that is packed into them shines through. The pastry is light, flaky and yummy. Bray’s Cottage make four flavours of pork pies which are; onion marmalade, chilli, chorizo and the traditional. I like the chilli and chorizo ones the best. Sarah was also at the show because she had won a Good Food Show Bursary Award.

As a massive fan of chorizo, I was very happy when I found The Bath Pig. It is run by Mash and Tim (who is not looking at the camera!) and they make British (to a Spanish recipe) RSPCA Freedom Food Standard free range chorizo. It is some of the best I have ever tasted and I am already dreaming up recipes to make with it. I brought the spicy chorizo but I would really love to try their garlic and herb chorizo too.

Tim Kinnaird was not only at the show doing the Masterchef experience. He was their selling his home-made macaroons.  Tim had four flavours which were lemon, rose, passion fruit and salted caramel. My favourites were the lemon and salted caramel ones. I had to eat lots to come to that decision. The macaroons were light, creamy and delicious. Tim has inspired me to have a go at making them at home in the New Year. Wish me luck!

Wandering around the show some more, I sampled some Worcestershire Plum ice cream from Churchfields Farmhouse. Another local producer who makes amazing ice cream using their own cow’s milk and local Worcestershire cream. I also found some British Cassis made by Jo Hilditch. It was lovely and I cannot wait until Christmas when I can try it in a Kir Royale. I saw Edd Kimber doing a demo on the British stage and afterwards went home after a very enjoyable weekend for a Crabbie’s Ginger Beer and a well earned rest.  This is just what I saw, tasted and did at the BBC Good Food Show, for fellow blogger’s viewpoints please look at the links below:

Happy Cooking! :-)

BBC Winter Good Food Show 2010 Part 1

Last weekend, I had a fun filled foodie time at the BBC Good Food Show Winter. For the first time ever, I was armed with a press pass and ready to meet all the amazing producers at the show. I had one added bonus as well. Miele invited me back to take part in two Masterchef Master-classes and have lunch at the Masterchef Restaurant, similar to what I did at the summer show. As I did so much at the show, I have split it into two posts, one on the Masterchef experience and the other on the fantastic producers that I met.

To begin, I will start with the Masterchef Experience. I was joined by fellow bloggers; May, Mimi, Helly, Pippa and James. We are all pictured above with Edd Kimber, winner of The Great British Bake Off. For our first challenge, we had to do a Masterclass with Mat Follas. He won Masterchef in 2009 and the chef/owner of The Wild Garlic Restaurant. I met Mat in the summer and know he is a great guy, with an incredible passion for food. It was his idea to do a sweet version of fish fingers, mash and ketchup not so long ago. For the masterclass, we made chocolate and rosemary mousse. I was quite scared of making this as I have had disasters making it at home. However spending the first 20 minutes in a mild state of panic (my cream would not whip, my eggs refused to be separated and it felt like I spent nearly the whole time on stage with a hand mixer on the go!) I produced lovely (but possibly OTT on the rosemary) chocolate and rosemary mousse.  Everyone was really happy with the results and I will make this again at home and share the recipe with you soon.

After some more celebrity schmoozing with Dhruv Baker, Masterchef winner 2010 and Edd Kimber, it was off to the Masterchef Restaurant for our lunch and well deserved break.

For my main, I had Chicken with a mushroom and Marsala sauce on parsnip mash with glazed baby vegetables which was cooked by Wendi Peters in Celebrity Masterchef Series 3.  It was delicious. Everything complemented each other brilliantly and it tasted even better because I did not have to cook it! For pudding, I had Bread and Butter Pudding which was cooked by Dean Edwards in Masterchef Series 2.  The pudding was dense but very light at the same time. The berries really cut the sweetness and were an excellent contrast.

Soon after this delicious meal, it was time for us to return to the Miele Masterchef stage again. This we were cooking with Alex Rushmer and Tim Kinnaird, both finalists in Masterchef 2010.  In this session, we made Duck Breast with Crackling, Pickled Cucumber and Spiced Tobacco Caramel and Spiced Hot Chocolate. The duck was Alex’s dish and I was a bit sceptical about it at first. The thought of putting tobacco in food seemed crazy to me, however it worked and the duck tasted really good too. Tim’s hot chocolate was amazing. Spicy, sweet and hot. Just perfect. I will make these dishes again at home and share the recipe with you soon.

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Overall, I had an absolutely amazing day and I would like to thank Susanna and Lauren from Miele for inviting me to take part and everyone else involved for all your help. It was great fun! My next post will be about the amazing producers I met so stay tuned for another post soon.

Thanks to James and Miele for some of the photos. It is much appreciated.

Happy Cooking! :-)

When You Entertain with Coca-Cola

A while ago, I was sent a copy of ‘When You Entertain’, a recipe book from Coca- Cola. This is a modern version of a book originally written for Coca-Cola in 1932 by legendary American hostess, Ida Bailey Allen. The new book is written by a collaboration of celebrated British Foodies; chef Tom Aikens, ex Blur bassist and food addict Alex James, 2008 Celebrity Masterchef winner Liz McClarnon and food blogger, Julia Parsons of A Slice of Cherry Pie and founder of the UK Food Bloggers Association. It is edited by renowned journalist Tiffanie Darke.

The book is divided into four categories; Weekend Brunches, Family Mealtimes, Saturday Night with Friends and Easy Lunch. Recipes include, Caveman Corn and Chicken, Spicy Crab Mushrooms, Braised Lamb Shank with Honey Roasted Garlic and Gammon and Peas Pudding.  There are even some inventive recipes that use Coca-Cola in the book and they include, Coca-Cola Ginger Cake, Coca-Cola Chicken Salad with Garden Potatoes and Coca-Cola Sticky Ribs.

However, as soon as I saw Coca-Cola Marinated Steak (a recipe from Julia Parsons), I knew I had to give it ago.  In the book, it is served with coleslaw and corn but I decided to serve it with Cool Beans (a recipe from the book by Alex James) and my potato wedges that I sometimes serve with steak.  The steak marinade was simplicity in itself: onion, garlic, Coca-Cola, Worcestershire Sauce and Dark Soy Sauce. Put it in a freezer bag and leave it in the fridge for as long as you can and griddle or BBQ it until it is cooked the way you like it. The beans recipe is slightly harder and made harder still when you do not read the recipe properly like I did. Doh! You are supposed to cook the beans in a low oven for 24 hours however; I did not notice this until 2 hours before I wanted dinner so I have made an adapted quick version below.

Jo’s Quick Cool Beans (Adapted from a recipe in ‘When You Entertain’ by Alex James)

Serves 4 as part of a main course

Ingredients

  • 1 onion, chopped into small chunks
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped finely
  • 1 tin of beans of your choice, drained
  • 1 tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 can of Coca-Cola
  • 1 tablespoon Tomato Ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Soy Sauce
  • Sea Salt and Black Pepper, to taste
  • Olive Oil

Method

  1. Put some olive oil in a casserole dish that can go on hob and in oven. Allow the olive oil to heat up briefly and add the onion and garlic and fry until softened.
  2. Add the beans, the tomatoes and the can of Coca-Cola. Stir and add the Worcestershire Sauce, Soy Sauce and some seasoning. Once simmering, put a lid on it and put it in a preheated 180°c oven.
  3. Allow it to cook for 30-40 minutes; stirring occasionally until thickened and all the flavours have come together. Check again for seasoning and serve it with the Coca-Cola marinated steak and potato wedges. Enjoy!

You can get the book from Harvey Nicols stores nationwide and online as part of hampers with selected ingredients from the book.

Many thanks to Laura for sending me the book :-)

Happy Cooking! :-)

Fish Fingers, Mash and Ketchup!

I am sure you think I have gone mad after reading the title of this post. However I can assure that I have not. I already told you many times before, about my love of Twitter and how easily you can share ideas with everyone. Well this week, Twitter has again come up trumps and helped me out.

I made Brioche for the first time at the weekend, and aware that it can go off quite quickly, I asked my friends on Twitter for ideas of what you can do with leftover brioche. I had what seemed like a million responses in an instant suggesting things like, bread and butter pudding, eggy bread and summer pudding. These all sounded lovely but I fancied doing something a bit different and Mat Follas, winner of Masterchef UK 2009 came to my rescue. I met Mat at the BBC Summer Good Food Show in June (see picture above) and I think he is a great guy. I have wanted to visit his restaurant, The Wild Garlic since it opened.

Mat (@matkiwi on Twitter) suggested that I did brioche fish fingers, with ice cream ‘mash’ and strawberry syrup ketchup. I thought this was an excellent idea and an unusual twist on a traditional British fare. We thought it was crazy (slightly Heston-esque) but not too crazy. I said I would make it that night and send him a picture. Here below is what I made and the recipe for it.

Fish Fingers, Mash and Ketchup

Ingredients

  • Leftover brioche (homemade or not, it’s up to you. A recipe for brioche will be on the blog at the end of the month), cut up into large finger sized pieces
  • 1 egg, beaten in a bowl, big enough for you to dip the fingers into
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract, mixed in with the beaten egg
  • Strawberries (British, in season), chopped up and stalks removed
  • Caster sugar, to taste (depends how sweet the strawberries are)
  • Water
  • Veg oil or other flavourless oil
  • Ice cream, of your choice to serve

Method

  1. In a saucepan, put the strawberries, caster sugar and a spot of water and leave it simmer gently until the strawberries have softened and the sugar has melted. Mash the strawberries into the syrup to release the flavour and then turn off the heat.
  2. Put the syrup with the strawberry mush through a sieve and mash again to release as much juice as you can from the strawberries. Once sieved put the syrup back into the saucepan and simmer until reduced into a thick but still runny sauce. Set aside to cool.
  3. Heat a small amount of veg oil in sauce pan and dip the fingers into the beaten egg/vanilla mixture and the put in the frying pan. Fry until golden brown and then turn over again until all sides are golden brown. Remove and drain on kitchen paper to remove excess oil.
  4. Get a big bowl or a plate and serve the brioche fingers. Add on the ice cream mash and pour on the strawboard syrup ketchup. Eat and Enjoy!

Mat liked the idea and my picture so much that he has decided to put in on his restaurant menu, once he has a play with it and possibly added an extra twist. I really will have to go down to Dorset and eat at his restaurant then, as this was one of the best puddings I have had in ages and it is so simple to prepare.

I would like to thank Mat for his help and inspiration. You are a star!

Masterchef Apron Competition

A couple of weeks ago, I ran a competition to win a genuine white Masterchef UK apron that only usually the contestants get. To win, you had to email me the answer to the question below.

Which Year did the Original Masterchef, hosted by Loyd Grossman Begin?

The answer was 1990. People who entered also got an extra entry into the competition by tweeting about the competition or by sharing it on a Facebook. A PDF with the entrant’s names on is below and those who names are shown two or three times shared on Twitter and/or Facebook. The numbers were given to them based on the order the entries were received. I used Random.org to select the winner.

Masterchef Apron Competition Entrants

Congratulations to our winner Vivia (@Farctum on Twitter) Well done! Please email or DM me via Twitter and I will post the apron out to you as soon as I can. I hope you enjoy being a Masterchef in your own kitchen. Thanks to everyone who entered and thanks to everyone who keeps reading my blog. You guys are awesome!

Until next time, Happy Cooking! :-)

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